Posts Categorized: Read in 2013

Audiobook Review – Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield

January 11, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 8 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Audiobook Review – Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story by Diane SetterfieldBellman & Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield
Narrator: Jack Davenport
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on November 5th 2013
Genres: Gothic, Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


two-stars

ONE MOMENT IN TIME CAN HAUNT YOU FOREVER.

Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget . . .

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.

‘Without the past to cast its long shadow, might you see the future more clearly?’

Bellman & Black is the story of William Bellman who’s life was irrevocably altered after killing a crow with a slingshot when he was eleven years old. The brief yet ominous event foreshadows his life to come. William leads a prosperous life for many years having a large family and doing wells in business until it slowly begins to decay. A sickness spreads through his family and one by one they die yet at each of their funerals William Bellman is stricken to realize there is a smiling man dressed all in black, watching him. When William finds him one day in the graveyard, waiting with a suspicious proposition.

I think the fact that I actually have not yet read the much touted ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ was a benefit as I didn’t have the lofty expectations that others seemed to have going into this story. Alas, despite my lack of expectation this was still a dreadfully dull and disappointing tale. It had a very ‘Dickens’ writing style to it yet was less adroit. William Bellman even took on a similar feel to Ebenezer Scrooge who was obsessed with his business and making money (except William Bellman had a family to come home to). The attempted moral of this story is one choice can change everything, which is a powerful message, yet the deaths surrounding William Bellman didn’t even seem to be written as a result of him killing the crow but rather it was just an implied assumption. That powerful message was definitely diminished.

The beginning part of the story dawdles along telling the story of an unexceptional man and detailing his factory and the business he conducted. While it was evident that the author conducted the research necessary to make her detailing convincing, it didn’t generate an ounce of interest in me. It was historically interesting but not appealing in the least as it overwhelmed the story completely. I found myself halfway through and realized that I had no interest in any of the characters, there wasn’t a single ghost to be found in this ‘ghost story’ and any sort of plot was completely nonexistent. I was confused and incredibly bored. The second half didn’t get any better and the plot (and purpose of the story) remained absent. The one saving grace of this was my decision to opt for the audio route. Jack Davenport was a fantastic narrator and managed to make this a tolerable tale.

Suffice it to say, this is an apt description of my reaction when it was all said and done:

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Early Review – Snowblind by Christopher Golden

January 9, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 4 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Snowblind by Christopher GoldenSnowblind by Christopher Golden
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 21, 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

In Christopher Golden’s first horror novel in more than a decade---a work reminiscent of early Stephen King---Snowblind updates the ghost story for the modern age.

The small New England town of Coventry had weathered a thousand blizzards . . . but never one like this. Icy figures danced in the wind and gazed through children's windows with soul-chilling eyes. People wandered into the whiteout and were never seen again. Families were torn apart, and the town would never be the same.

Now, as a new storm approaches twelve years later, the folks of Coventry are haunted by the memories of that dreadful blizzard and those who were lost in the snow. Photographer Jake Schapiro mourns his little brother, Isaac, even as---tonight---another little boy is missing. Mechanic and part-time thief Doug Manning's life has been forever scarred by the mysterious death of his wife, Cherie, and now he’s starting over with another woman and more ambitious crimes. Police detective Joe Keenan has never been the same since that night, when he failed to save the life of a young boy . . . and the boy’s father vanished in the storm only feet away. And all the way on the other side of the country, Miri Ristani receives a phone call . . . from a man who died twelve years ago.

As old ghosts trickle back, this new storm will prove to be even more terrifying than the last.

Spellbinding in scope and rooted deeply in classic storytelling, Christopher Golden has written a chilling masterpiece that is the best work of his career and a standout supernatural thriller. With richly textured characters, scarred and haunted by the ghosts of those they loved most, Snowblind is rooted deeply in classic storytelling. Christopher Golden has written a chilling masterpiece that is both his breakout book and a standout supernatural thriller.

Twelve years ago a blizzard hit the small New England town of Coventry. A blizzard that brought far more danger than normal. The storm was alive with something dangerous and evil and anyone who dared walk into it never survived. Twelve years later there are people that still remain in Coventry that were affected by that storm and now a new storm is coming with the same dangers.

Blizzards. Ghosts. Supernatural Thriller. An amazing blurb from Stephen King. All reasons I was highly anticipating Snowblind. Unfortunately, this ended up being only passably mediocre but possessed some high points worth mentioning. The most skillful aspect of this novel was the chilling introduction that had me anticipating a sleepless night with the lights left on. Unfortunately, following the frightening intro came a long and drawn out and relatively dull middle. The story was chock-full of characters and each and every one of their back stories. I enjoyed reading about their connection to the storm from twelve years prior, but it was done in excess and with too many characters. They all sort of bled together after a point and it was hard to differentiate between all of them.

The crescendo was not steady and by the time the climax rolled around the thrilling angles didn’t produce the same effect as the introduction had. I also attribute that to the fact that the revelation of what the evils in the storm were wasn’t as eerie as I had expected. View Spoiler »

Snowblind perfectly captured the suffocating feel of a blizzard and was quite eerie at times. While it was an enjoyable and haunting tale, a surplus of characters detracted from the creepiness and the horror aspects just weren’t consistent enough to keep me fully spellbound.

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Book Review – Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox #1) by Rachel Bach

January 3, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 20 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Fortune’s Pawn (Paradox #1) by Rachel BachFortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach
Series: Paradox #1
Published by Orbit on November 5th 2013
Pages: 352
Genres: Romance, Sci-fi
Format: Paperback
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Honor's Knight, Heaven's Queen

five-stars

Devi Morris isn't your average mercenary. She has plans. Big ones. And a ton of ambition. It's a combination that's going to get her killed one day - but not just yet.

That is, until she just gets a job on a tiny trade ship with a nasty reputation for surprises. The Glorious Fool isn't misnamed: it likes to get into trouble, so much so that one year of security work under its captain is equal to five years everywhere else. With odds like that, Devi knows she's found the perfect way to get the jump on the next part of her Plan. But the Fool doesn't give up its secrets without a fight, and one year on this ship might be more than even Devi can handle.
If Sigouney Weaver in Alien met Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica, you'd get Deviana Morris -- a hot new mercenary earning her stripes to join an elite fighting force. Until one alien bite throws her whole future into jeopardy.

So my reading sci-fi is completely out of character and if it wasn’t for the recommendations of trusted individuals I never would have picked this up. Regardless of this being set completely in space, this is definitely what I would consider sci-fi-lite. The world building is sufficient enough without boggling my mind with excessive detailing which I appreciated. Fortune’s Pawn was absolutely fantastic though. I can’t remember the last book I read that was so freaking exciting, and I don’t say that lightly. It was so thrilling my mouth was hanging open in several scenes, I was flipping pages at lightning speed and I made sure to limit my blinking so as to not miss out on precious reading time. You know that moment in a relationship where you can look back and remember when you fell in love? I remember the exact moment I fell in love with this book and how I got so damn excited I put the book down and yelled:

I wish I was exaggerating. My fiance looked at me like I was a complete nutter.

The battle scenes were thoroughly exhilarating and the absolute best part of this book but this book would be nothing without Devi Morris. She’s a mercenary and a total badass but she’s far from perfect. She makes silly decisions because of love but they’re all credible and realistic decisions. At no point did she turn into some weak-willed chick just because she had a crush and I’m so very thankful that the romance didn’t completely overpower the story. It was the perfect balance. And speaking of Rupert…

I don’t care if his name is funny, Rupert is fabulous. He’s a total badass just like Devi but he’s much more subtle about it; less flashy. Their romance is blended well with the story and mystery so it didn’t fell like yet another unnecessary romance showing up when it never should have been invited. When I think back, they fell for each other pretty quick it seemed but the feelings of insta-love weren’t there for me (*phew*). There was some major relationship drama going on though, a constant push and pull between them. “I love you! But I can’t, I’m dangerous. Oh, but I love you! I have no self control!” If I hadn’t been so completely enthralled I would’ve been raising my eyebrow at this. It’s not revealed the details as to why he’s so dangerous so I’m hoping his secrets and “danger” better be really freaking dangerous to justify this dramatic time wasting nonsense because those two are pretty fabulous together.

One more lovely thing about this story that’s worth mentioning is the fabulous secondary characters. Hyrek is the ships doctor who is also a xith’cal, an alien race, and he’s got a super snarky sense of humor I immediately loved. There is Devi’s partner Cotter who was a big meathead that was always good for a laugh, Caldswell is the mysterious captain with a bucketful of secrets and Devi’s roommate Nova who totally reminded me of Luna Lovegood. It was a wonderful cast of characters.

There have been comparisons to Firefly, Alien and even Battlestar Gallactica. Well, I suck and haven’t seen a single one of those (I TOLD YOU I don’t do sci-fi) but the one thing I can compare it to is Ann Aguirre’s ‘Sirantha Jax’ series. Devi reminded me a lot of Sirantha (but Devi quite a bit more of a badass) and the storyline was much more thrilling, so if you enjoyed that series you’ll absolutely love this. Suffice to say, this is going on my best of 2013 list and I’m immediately starting book two. Boy am I so very fortunate to have it available. Upon completion I felt like running around flailing my arms like a crazy person so I hope my thoughts came out in a sensible manner. Read this book, people.

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Early Review – Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

January 2, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 8 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Lost Lake by Sarah Addison AllenLost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 21st 2014
Pages: 304
Genres: Magical Realism
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Garden Spells, First Frost

four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells comes a novel about heartbroken people finding hope at a magical place in Georgia called Lost Lake.

Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn't believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found.

‘Sometimes, all you need is something to believe in.’

Kate has lived in a slumberous state since her husband passed away a year ago. She wakes one morning and feels truly awake for the first time since the accident and looks around to realize her life has ran away from her while she was ‘asleep’. Her mother-in-law has sold her house, has put her daughter Devin into a private school and is in the process of moving the two into her house. Nothing is as she would want it and she decides to take a spontaneous trip with Devin to Lost Lake, an unforgettable place where she visited one summer as a child

Sarah Addison Allen’s signature magical touches were present in Lost Lake but what was even more magical was her exceptional cast of characters. Kate herself was an enigma but there was her quirky daughter Devin, her charming Aunt Eby and Selma and Bulahdeen the two best friends that love to hate each other. They were all so delightfully enchanting additions to the story and even their back stories were welcome additions and didn’t detract from the story as a whole. The camaraderie these characters generated was infectious and alluring.

‘When your cup is empty, you do not mourn what is gone. Because if you do, you will miss the opportunity to fill it again.’

This is Sarah Addison Allen’s first book in three years due to a break she took after being diagnosed with breast cancer. In her book trailer she explains she discovered: “Sometimes you are at your most lost right before you find your way again.” Lost Lake is a stirring and atmospheric novel of healing, of overcoming disastrous events and insurmountable obstacles that was most inspirational.

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Early Review – Before We Met by Lucie Whitehouse

December 21, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013 6 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Before We Met by Lucie WhitehouseBefore We Met by Lucie Whitehouse
Published by Bloomsbury USA on January 21st 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Mystery-Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Hannah, independent, headstrong, and determined not to follow in the footsteps of her bitterly divorced mother, has always avoided commitment. But one hot New York summer she meets Mark Reilly, a fellow Brit, and is swept up in a love affair that changes all her ideas about what marriage might mean.

Now, living in their elegant, expensive London townhouse and adored by her fantastically successful husband, she knows she was right to let down her guard.

But when Mark does not return from a business trip to the U.S. and when the hours of waiting for him stretch into days, the foundations of Hannah’s certainty begin to crack. Why do Mark’s colleagues believe he has gone to Paris not America? Why is there no record of him at his hotel? And who is the mysterious woman who has been telephoning him over the last few weeks?

Hannah begins to dig into her husband’s life, uncovering revelations that throw into doubt everything she has ever believed about him. As her investigation leads her away from their fairytale romance into a place of violence and fear she must decide whether the secrets Mark has been keeping are designed to protect him or protect her...

Hannah has always held herself back from love for fear of becoming like her acrimonious mother after suffering through the divorce from her father. Her uncertainties ceased to exist when she meets Mark; a fellow Brit and a friend of a friend. They fall in love instantaneously and they are married shortly after. A few months into their marriage, Mark is on a business trip to the U.S. and when Hannah was expected to pick him up from his return flight he’s not there. Fearing the worst, she’s finally able to get a hold of him but his excuses only cause her suspicions to grow. As her concerns continue to mount, the cracks in her life begin to appear and nothing is as it seems.

The story alternates between the present and the past, when she first met Mark, and rehashes she knows about him. Hannah’s uncertainties make her realize foolishly how little she truly knows about her husband which causes her to investigate and uncover unpleasant information. ‘Before We Met’ captured flawlessly how suspicion and doubt can morph into a crazed paranoia where you aren’t able to clearly discern what is right before your eyes. The building tension is well-done and turned this into quite a page-turner, however, it was quite clear what was going on before Hannah finally caught up with the rest of us. I kept hoping that an unexpected twist would happen at the end but it never did.

I have always been a fan of psychological thrillers and while I understand that comparisons to other novels of the same genre are bound to occur, I can only expect there to be some semblance of originality. Having read ‘Gone Girl’ last year, the comparisons to ‘Before We Met’ are great and while there are slight differences, it only managed to come off as a weaker interpretation. I did have the same issue with both books though, where so much crazy had happened throughout the novel that by the end it had all become so disheveled and unrecognizable from the beginning. It all ended up being a bit too contrived for my liking.

‘Before We Met’ works that little paranoid nerve in all of us by serving as a reminder that you’re never able to truly know a person completely, even the ones you love and have devoted your life to.

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Book Review + Giveaway! Sweet Nothings by Janis Thomas

December 20, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Giveaways, Read in 2013 5 Comments

I received this book free from FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review + Giveaway! Sweet Nothings by Janis ThomasSweet Nothings by Janis Thomas
Published by Berkley on July 2, 2013
Pages: 384
Genres: Chick-Lit, Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: FSB Associates
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

Life’s sweetest moments happen when you least expect them . . .

When Ruby McMillan’s husband announces one morning that he’s dumping her for another woman, she’s unable to decide which indignity stings the most: the dissolution of their eighteen-year marriage or the deflation of her white-chocolate soufflé with raspberry Grand Marnier sauce. Without a good-bye to their two teenaged children, Walter leaves Ruby to cope with her ruined dessert, an unpaid mortgage, and her failing bakery.

With only royal icing holding her together, Ruby still manages to pick herself up and move on, subsidizing her income with an extra job as a baking instructor, getting a “my-husband’s-gone” makeover, and even flirting with her gorgeous mortgage broker, Jacob Salt. For as long as she can remember, Ruby has done what’s practical, eschewing far-fetched dreams and true love in favor of stability. But suddenly single again at the age of forty-four, she’s beginning to discover that life is most delicious when you stop following a recipe and just live.

About Janis Thomas

Janis Thomas is a graduate of UCLA who was actually born in the University’s Medical Center. Upon graduating, she moved to Manhattan to get a taste of city life, and so liked the flavor, she stayed for eleven years. While there, she performed in several plays, including the Off-Broadway production of Your Children, was cast in the National Tour of Forbidden Broadway, and played out in some of the hottest clubs in the city with her sister and their band she said. While bartending on the upper west side she met her now-husband. She made him a margarita and they’ve been together ever since. Janis has written over fifty songs and two children’s books (with her dad). When she is not writing or fulfilling her PTA duties, she likes to channel her inner Ace of Cakes to create fun and fabulous desserts. She currently resides in Orange County with her Jersey-transplant husband, their two beautiful children, and dog Ruby. Mom, Dad, siblings, and treasured loved ones live nearby.

‘So, too, have I gathered the ingredients of my life and carefully flavored them, patiently beat my whites, and lovingly folded together all the elements of my existence. Put my proverbial batter into the appropriately prepared ramekin and gently placed my world into the oven. And yet I must have done something wrong, made some false move or ignored an important step in the recipe, because my life has suddenly collapsed around me into a charred, inedible ruin.’

Ruby McMillan’s husband announces one day that he’s leaving her for another woman.  Their marriage had been slowly dissolving for the past years so it’s not as devastating emotionally, but she’s left scrambling for a hold on life while managing her failing bakery and trying to figure out how to inform her children that their father has left them. Things start looking up when Ruby moves her husbands stuff out of the house, gets a makeover and decides to take a chance on the unexpected by signing up to teach a cake class. She also meets Jacob Salt, a man that makes her feel something she hasn’t in years.

This was such a fun and light-hearted read despite the serious nature of the topic. It could have easily been a sob story about trust being shattered and hearts being broken but I found myself laughing out loud at times and reading with a smile on my face. It was so refreshing to read a book about a heroine that is faced with a devastating loss but is able to overcome it all while still maintaining her sense of humor. Ruby’s character was fantastically written and was quite the inspiration.

Obviously, my favorite aspect of this book is the foodie bits. I’ll read the occasional chick lit of course but foodie books? Anytime. Ruby is a baker and ends up being a teacher of a cooking class so we’re given all kinds of fabulous baking details that made me want to hop up and bake some muffins (because I couldn’t bake half of the amazing things Ruby could so I had to settle for muffins.) Not only were the details absorbing but she was constantly coming up with new recipes as a sort of coping mechanism. Every time she’d get overwhelmed or stressed about something, her creative subconscious would come up with something amazing sounding to try.

‘Homemade marshmallow cream and roasted almonds sandwiched between bite-size graham-cracker squares, enrobed with Callebaut milk chocolate.’

Mmmm..

I pretty much loved everything about this book and I read it during a time where I needed to be reminded that despite hardships in life it’s possible to remain strong and power through. It was the perfect book for my current mood and Ruby delivered the emotional boost I needed. This is my first book read by this author but I’ll definitely be picking up her other works. Highly suggested for those looking for a fun and entertaining (and inspirational) chick-lit type read.

1 copy of Sweet Nothings open to U.S. and Canada addresses only!
Giveaway ends January 3rd, 2014
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Book Review – The October List by Jeffery Deaver

December 19, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 0 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The October List by Jeffery DeaverThe October List by Jeffery Deaver
Published by Grand Cen­tral Publishing on October 1st 2013
Pages: 289
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: A Textbook Case, The Kill Room, The Skin Collector

two-half-stars

Gabriela McKenzie's daughter has been kidnapped. In exchange for her safe return, her abductors demand two things: $400,000 in cash and a document known as the "October List." Gabriela has thirty hours to deliver both. Coming up with such a huge sum of money is difficult enough. But Gabriela has no idea what the October List is, much less where it is or how to get it. With the help of Daniel Reardon a charismatic but mysterious man with an agenda of his own Gabriela rushes headlong into a desperate search to solve the puzzle of the October List. And if she fails, she and her daughter will pay a fatal price.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Gabriela awaits news of her daughter who was abducted two days prior. The kidnapper has demanded $400,000 and a document known as ‘The October List’ of which she has been scrambling to identify in order to save her daughter. The door to the apartment opens but it’s not the FBI and it’s not the negotiators; it’s the kidnapper and he’s holding a gun. That’s the thrilling introduction that seemingly gives everything away right off the bat but nothing is as it seems.

The October List is told in reverse chronology, where a tale is told from ending to beginning. Thinking you’re given the answers right off the bat slowly becomes an impossibility as the story progresses and you have to continue altering your opinion as more facts are introduced.  It’s an impressive tale of misdirection.

It worked well in theory but I had a lot of trouble keeping track of who was who because of the lack of distinction between the characters in the apparent attempt to retain the mystery surrounding everything. The story is written at a breakneck speed and you can often find yourself left in its dust as you struggle to catch up, but it does slowly come together and begin to make sense around the halfway point (the book is only 289 pages though so it doesn’t take long). It worked but it didn’t and by the time everything is disclosed I was impressed at the false assumptions the introduction produced.

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Book Review – World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2) by Susan Ee

December 14, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2013, YA 0 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – World After (Penryn & the End of Days #2) by Susan EeWorld After by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn & the End of Days #2
Published by Skyscape on November 19, 2013
Pages: 320
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Angelfall

three-stars

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

Penryn & the End of Days series

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1)

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) {My Review}

unnamed

That sums up nicely how I felt by the end of World After. Not angry at how everything transpired, but no where near the level of happiness I had when I finished Angelfall.

At the end of Angelfall, Penryn’s lifeless body is delivered to her mother after the attack from the scorpion. As her mother mourns the loss of her oldest daughter, she couldn’t be more shocked when Penryn sits up, alive and well. Penryn quickly jumps back into the role of guardian yet is uneasy around her sister Paige after the horrific events that occurred in Angelfall. When Paige disappears, Penryn sets off in search for her with hopes of finding Raffe as well who believes her to be dead.

I found myself at a loss around halfway through because I realized I wasn’t enjoying this nearly as much as I had anticipated. The writing was intense and the build-up was extreme but so much of the story failed to progress that it became very tedious waiting for the next big wow moment. Very little new information was discovered and it just didn’t advance the storyline as much as a 2nd book should. This didn’t even feel like a case of middle book syndrome (although I’ve heard rumor that this is now being planned as  5-book series) but rather an entire book of filler that totally stalled the series for me. The last 1/4 of the book is what I had hoped the entirety of World After would be like but I’m thankful for at least the 1/4 as it still left me highly anticipating the next installment. Setting all that aside there was still a lot to enjoy.

First and foremost is that one of the characteristics of Angefall I loved most was how incredibly dark and twisted it was. Susan Ee pulled no punches in showing just how dark and devastating the world has become since the angels came and World After fortunately retained that aspect.

Pooky Bear. The name Penryn jokingly gave Raffe’s sword. As eye-rolling as that whole bit was, it was really pretty damn funny. Naturally, (for me) I kept picturing this Pooky:

If nobody knows who that is, our friendship is over.

And lastly, I’m left very intrigued by the side-story of the experimentation done on Paige View Spoiler » More light is shed on the angel invasion as well but with both cases, the information is dished out in the smallest amounts that I’m not left yearning answers I’m instead left mildly irritated and more focused on the little we’re given. Another thing that was dished out in the smallest amounts? Raffe.

I needed MOAR.

Bottom line: I’m not pleased at the (lacking) progress of the storyline but I was satisfied enough at simply being back in this wonderfully desolate world and will of course still anxiously await the next installment in hopes we get more answers (and more Raffe.)

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Book Review – Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

December 13, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2013 6 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Burial Rites by Hannah KentBurial Rites by Hannah Kent
Published by Little Brown and Company on September 10th 2013
Pages: 336
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads


four-half-stars

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

‘Criminal. The word hangs in the air. Heavy, unmoved by the bluster of the wind.
I want to shake my head. That word does not belong to me, I want to say. It doesn’t fit me or who I am. It’s another word, and it belongs to another person.’

Burial Rites is based on the true story of an Icelandic woman that was beheaded in 1829 for a double murder authorities believed her to have had a part in. It was the last public execution to take place in Iceland. Due to the lack of prisons in Iceland at the time, Agnes Magnúsdóttir was sent to a farm and was watched over by the farmer’s wife and their two daughters until it came time for her execution. Based on research conducted by the author, Agnes was typically portrayed in a harsh light so Kent sought to share her side of things and the pain that she suffered as well. Burial Rites is the re-imagined last months of Agnes’ life.

The story is written from several different points of view, but primarily from Agnes’ and the farmer’s wife, Margrét. Agnes’ quiet desolation was palpable and while I felt thoroughly immersed in her scenes, I welcomed the break. It did have the negative effect of disrupting the flow of the story at times though. Margrét’s initial scenes reflected a family frightened to have a murderess in their midst and a growing bitterness at being forced to care for her. Agnes is not ill treated, but she is ignored as much as possible and left to stew in her own thoughts. The only individual that Agnes has to share her thoughts with is her spiritual guardian, a young assistant priest by the name of Tóti. As time progresses the family begins to not only become accustomed to Agnes’ company but become thankful for the extra set of hands and the assistance she provides to the struggling family. She shares her confession of what happened the night of the murders with the family and Tóti. Her words forever changes the families opinion of her.

“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.” 

The writing is extremely eloquent for a debut novel. Her prose elicits a picturesque portrait of Iceland and its harsh climates while also evoking a suffocating sense of despair. Burial Rites is a compelling tale of heartbreak and sorrow that illustrates how a truth is never one-sided.

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Book Tour Review + Giveaway! Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8) by Karina Halle

December 12, 2013 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Book Tour, Giveaways, Read in 2013 6 Comments

I received this book free from Book Tour, the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Tour Review + Giveaway! Ashes to Ashes (Experiment in Terror #8) by Karina HalleAshes to Ashes by Karina Halle
Series: Experiment in Terror #8
Published by Metal Blonde Books on December 11th 2013
Genres: Diiiirrrrrrttyyy, Paranormal, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour, the Author
Goodreads

Also by this author: Come Alive, Shooting Scars, Bold Tricks

It’s been two months since Perry Palomino and Dex Foray’s relationship reached a new turning point, two months since Perry started a new life in Seattle, and two months since their Experiment in Terror show took on a new partner, ex-Wine Babe Rebecca Sims, and found a new level of success. But whenever there is light in their lives, the madness still has a way of coming back in.

When the team is sent back to the stormy Oregon coast to investigate a haunted school, Perry wants to use the opportunity to reconnect with her family and reintroduce Dex into their lives. Only Perry’s not the only one who’s reaching out – her grandmother Pippa has started appearing to her with disturbing warnings and Perry’s presence at the school has ignited a chilling new wave of supernatural phenomenon. Once used a century ago as a sanatorium to house children dying of tuberculosis, the school’s past residents are slowly coming back to life and with one thing on their mind. They want someone to play with, someone to join them. Forever.

Even when dead, some children get whatever they want.

And they want Perry.

About Karina Halle

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and the USA Today Bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920s farmhouse on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Experiment in Terror series

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Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror, #1)
Red Fox (Experiment in Terror, #2)
The Benson (Experiment in Terror, #2.5)
Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror, #3)
Lying Season (Experiment in Terror, #4)

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On Demon Wings (Experiment in Terror, #5)
Old Blood (Experiment in Terror, #5.5)
The Dex-Files (Experiment in Terror, #5.7)
Into the Hollow (Experiment in Terror, #6)
And With Madness Comes the Light (Experiment in Terror, #6.5)
Come Alive (Experiment in Terror, #7) {My Review!}

Two months have passed since Dex and Perry’s trip to New Orleans and things have never been better. Rebecca has joined their Experiment in Terror team and the show is becoming more and more successful.  Their next haunted adventure takes them back to Oregon, back to where it all began. The location is a haunted school that used to be a sanatorium for children dying of tuberculosis over a century ago. Some of the ghostly children are friendly and only want someone to play with. Others are much more dreadful and have spine-chilling things in mind.

“To the thing that hurts you most. To the paranormal and to never being normal.”
He winked at me. “To us.”

On Demon Wings was holding the crown of ‘my favorite installment’ but Ashes to Ashes blew it out of the water. This was quite possibly the best installment to date. It was an intense page-turner that was thrilling and steamy and swoony and of course scary as freaking hell. Karina’s ability to describe these scenes of intensity in detail completely bring them to life and leave you feeling completely unsettled.

‘I waited, frozen on the spot, until I heard a dull slap, the sound of bare feet hitting the ground.
Someone coming out of the body cooler.
Someone dead.’

The best part of Ashes in Ashes is returning to Perry’s POV. Perry is such a fabulously intricate character and I really missed out on her thoughts and feelings in the previous installment, Come Alive. We’re also able to experience first-hand her dreamy visits to the Veil, her interactions with Pippa and the sense of foreboding that she exudes. Pippa feels as if something bad is about to happen and she hopes to be able to prepare Perry, but the threat is shrouded in fog and she isn’t able to determine who Perry should be fearing. Prepared or not, this is one threat that Perry will never see coming. This dramatic conclusion sets the stage for the undoubtedly exhilarating final installment of the Experiment in Terror series.

Chandler Bing I'm so excited I may vomit

Grand Prize Giveaway
(open to US and Canada):
A signed copy of Perception (a paperback compilation of all the e-book novellas), a signed copy of Darkhouse, a signed copy of Red Fox (with new cover) as well as a signed copy of Ashes to Ashes and an EIT tank top!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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